UBC Undergraduate Research

An investigation into the potential for PVC reduction in building floorings Tuladhar, Aarohan; Cheng, Paul; Xiao, Chris; Siemens, Eric


The University Of British Columbia (UBC) is one of the leading universities in North America and around the world in the pursuit of campus sustainability. UBC’s SEEDS (Social Ecological Economic Development Studies) Program started in year 2000. It is currently western Canada’s first student and faculty member collaborative program to find workable solutions to real life sustainability issues affecting the campus. This report will look at the controversial use of PVC based floorings in the campus and a potential alternative that can be used to replace it. PVC has long been a stable product to use for building construction, piping and flooring due to its wide range of attractive properties and cheap cost. However, PVC has been known to degrade over time and leached out chlorine particles into the surrounding areas, contributing to potentially unsafe environmental conditions. The alternative chosen to be compared to PVC will be linoleum. These two types of flooring will be assessed based on a triple bottom line assessment. The triple bottom line assessment compares and grades the suggested materials based on environmental, economic and social aspects. The scope of this report will only extend to looking at flooring replacements in residential and institutional use areas in the UBC campus. This excludes the food sector areas as they require different criteria of flooring requirements. Through comparing the assessment of both materials, it is evident that PVC contributes the most to harmful environmental pollution during production with its additives while the linoleum is very environmentally friendly due to the use of raw natural ingredients. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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